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Is it just me, or is Illustrator particularly non-interactive in realtime

Oct 5, 2010 7:11 AM

I may be spoiled, because I mostly use real-time apps for 3D animation and game-design; but I feel like Illustrator has made it a point to leave designers in the stone age with real-time updates. Color adjustments and object manipulation wait for a mouse-up to provide full visual feedback. Have you noticed that sliding the notches on the color adjustments move in increments other than one? There is no way to determine a color's result as you adjust, you have to mouse-up to see the change. When you move an object, it outlines a proxy of the result. The effects all ask for a preview check-box to be clicked prior to seeing the result- why wouldn't I want to see the result when the dialog is up (other than it being too taxing on my system? which isn't a very relevant reason) Why are the number fields sill non-interactive in a mouse roll/click and drag sense?

 

Just letting some steam out here, but come on really? Is this what happens when the competition is slim and the app has little incentive to improve universally common standards found in other serious programs?

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2010 8:26 AM   in reply to Pacoan-wZPMMm

    It's not just you. Illustrator is a great program but it would certainly benefit from being dragged and dropped into the 21st century.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 2:26 PM   in reply to Pacoan-wZPMMm

    Word Up, any updates on this particularly static 21st century app?

     

    • Color adjustments and object manipulation wait for a mouse-up to provide full visual feedback.
    • Have you noticed that sliding the notches on the color adjustments move in increments other than one?
    • There is no way to determine a color's result as you adjust, you have to mouse-up to see the change.
    • When you move an object, it outlines a proxy of the result.
    • The effects all ask for a preview check-box to be clicked prior to seeing the result- why wouldn't I want to see the result when the dialog is up (other than it being too taxing on my system? this is becoming less and less of an issue now days, why not assume that the user wants instant feedback)
    • Why are the number fields sill non-interactive in a mouse roll/click and drag sense? Most other Adobe apps have sliding number fields
     
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    Apr 28, 2012 3:12 PM   in reply to Pacoan

    To move a live preview of placed/embedded images, File -> Document Setup and then check "Show images in outline mode".  It's set on a document to document basis. I bet CS6 addresses some of these complaints. We'll see soon enough.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 3:35 PM   in reply to Jesseham

    Thanks for the tip Jesseham. This is a drop falling the in the bucket.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 3:42 PM   in reply to Pacoan

    Actually, one thing I'm not fond of in CS6 is the lack of sliders. CS6 has fewer sliders than previous versions. For example, the opacity field on the Gradient Panel, Transparency Panel or Control bar now have a dorp down list of 0% to 100%. No slider at all. It's my hope that scrubby sliders eventually make it into AI. I understand the conversion to 64bit caused a few changes which will hopefully be improved in the future.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 3:48 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    I'm kind of a fan of click economy, whereby a designer counts the clicks needed to complete a task. Clicking a dropdown for a setting, changing the settings, then viewing the results, then clicking the dropdown again, adjusting, viewing, etc seems like a less than ecomical process. Do the developers actually use the software to design things with?

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 4:14 PM   in reply to Pacoan-wZPMMm

    All the preferences are set in a dialoge. No apparent change prior to comitting, lots of back and forth if there are things that you change constantly like Units, Grid Size/color...

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 4:34 PM   in reply to Pacoan

    Units - Control-click/right-click a ruler and pick a unit. (this has been around for YEARS) You can also input any unit into any field. Just because the document is set to inches it doesn't mean you can't use points - just input Xpt into any field.

     

    Scale Strokes & Effects is now on the Transform panel in plain sight rather than the prefs.

     

    Grids are document based so I don't know how those would be moved out of the prefs.


    What other pref items do you change repeatedly?

     

     

     

    The developers do use the software. Often some decisions are made with future adjustments in mind. This is not just Illustrator, all the teams do this.. they build half a feature (which works well) and release it.. then finish off the feature and release that in the next version. Photoshop is famous for doing this. (Reposse in CS5.5 then much more user friendly 3D in CS6). The move to 64bit for AICS6 I'm sure took a great deal of work. It's laying the ground work for future items. There were previously several hurdles to development I'm sure. Hopefully the CS6 rebuild removed many of those roadblocks for Illustrator. It is a perfect app for every users? Of course not. No application is. But it does repeatedly improve.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 5:29 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    Thanks for the tips on the units! That is helpful and I did not know that.

     

    I'm not sure why you brought up scaling for strokes, and effect properties, but thanks for the info

     

    I'm pretty sure that the grid units/subdivisions are controlled by Illustrator's preferences, and because of that, there is no way to adjust them in realtime. 

     

    All of Illustrator's dialoge boxes that I know of are modal. You can't even open the color picker and work in your document, without first closing it?

     

    Regarding the developer's use of the application, I'm curious if they use it to design with. Do these people know that their tool works because they made it according to market driven specifications, or because they know what it is like to make a living with the tool and have a passion for the philosphy of its use?

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 5:46 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    Do you know if the new Illustrator lets you use alt+(letter) in Full Screen Mode (as in previous versions and most other windows apps)? Does it let you use the alt+mouse wheel to zoom without placing focus on a menu shortcut, then beeping at you for clicking in the document?

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 5:58 PM   in reply to Pacoan

    I brought up Scale Strokes & Effects because that's abotu the only preference item which I and other users I know toggle constantly.

     

    And I don't really understand the need to alter grids dynamically. That somewhat defeats the purpose of the grid doesn't it?

     

    I'm a Mac user so I can't comment on Windows functionality beyond basic features. Many times window managment is partially reliant on the OS functionality.

     

    And I don't use a mouse (Wacom tablet here) so I can't directly comment on mouse use either.

     

    Sorry.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 6:40 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    OK, thanks for the input regarding stroke.

     

    Resizing the grid dynamically is something that is used when your grid-based workflow depends on more than 2 subdivisions for accuracey. If my design invovles layout and asset creation, (like let's say font design, general composition, and creating artwork to go in the composition), and I use the grid to keep cosistent proportions, then I will need to use said grid on small areas and large areas. If my grid specs are 1 gridline every 64 pixels, and I have 2 subdivisions, that works for units of 16px. If my needs go below this unit, I could change my gridsize to 32px and measure with subdivs every 8px, etc.

     

    Furthermore, if I need to change the color of the grid because the current is conflicting with my design, I would need to re-open the preferences dialog, scroll to grid and choose a color. Then close it, and portentially re-open it.

     

    If my grids need to be moved to the front or back, once again reopen adjust, reopen close.

     

    This is not an issue for you because you probably do not use the grid this way. The point is, modal design is a limitation of the program, unless the design is intended to result in input from the user prior to further action with the document.

     

    Aren't you excited for all of the new features Illustrator is going to have? Maybe the newer features will outweigh older software design issues!

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 6:51 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    I agree scrub adjustments is the way to go. CS 6.5 or 7

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 7:09 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    Ahh.. subdivisions of grids. I get that. And it may be a very valuable feature request. If it were implemented as subdivisions, then you could possibly set 2 values - Grid and Subdivision, and set a color for each measurement. Sounds very useful.

     

    And yes, CS6 (16) is really a solid build of Ai here. I've used it for a while and there's no comparison with CS5.5 (15.1). The 64 bit conversion has done a GREAT deal to improve overall performance. That's the #1 reason I'd reccomend the upgrade. It's far more stable and faster in general, in spite of the few UI tweaks (like scrubby sliders) I'd like to have. Then, when you add in the awesome pattern editor and finally having the ability to add gradients to strokes it becomes a no-brainer here.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 7:39 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    Wade, as someone who uses apps like 3DsMax, Maya, Zbrush, and open-source Linux dektop publishing apps like Inkscape, and Gimp, (not to mention other Adobe apps like After Effects, Premiere, etc.) I feel like sliders should have been placed in Illustrator eight years ago. Sometimes I feel like the veteran users are happy with the way Illustrator works and therefore aren't privy/concerned with newer UI ideas.

     

    Scott, Illustrator currently does have grid subdivisions, they work pretty well, although one is still limited to a single division at a time. Part of the reason I bring this up, is because open-source, user driven Inkscape does all of this stuff really well, saves to a compliant .SVG and is free. Sometimes it realy funny to see the difference in result that user driven software development creates in contrast with corporate 'industry-standard' solutions.

     

    Thanks for the insight on the new AI, I look forward to using it. How do you zoom in when using the tablet? cmd +?

     

    Anyway, I'm not complaining here. It's just apparent that Illustrator has some awesome opportunities for modernization, and it soo frustrating when you have to jump through hoops as a result of negligent design.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 8:07 PM   in reply to Pacoan

    Pacoan wrote:

    How do you zoom in when using the tablet? cmd +?

     

    Yeah Command+ or Command- or the radial wheel on the tablet (no alt key needed). I really tend to use Command-0/Command-Option-0 to view artboard(s) or Command-Spacebar/Command-Option-Spacebar for the zoom tool most of the time.

     

    What about.. and just spitballing... being able to set grid values/color per layer rather than per document?

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 9:25 PM   in reply to Pacoan

    Wade, as someone who uses apps like 3DsMax, Maya, Zbrush, and open-source Linux dektop publishing apps like Inkscape, and Gimp, (not to mention other Adobe apps like After Effects, Premiere, etc.) I feel like sliders should have been placed in Illustrator eight years ago. Sometimes I feel like the veteran users are happy with the way Illustrator works and therefore aren't privy/concerned with newer UI ideas.

    When Primiere and After Effects added the scrubing sliders I made the request for Illustrator and I think also ID and was under the impression that all Adobe apps would be consistant that way.

     

    I believe now that most of the apps are finished going to 64 bit it shpould be possible to do this for Illustrator and any app that does not have these sliders and Ibelive the apps that are not 64 bit already have them then there should be no reason not to do this.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 10:47 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    There are no scrubby sliders in Illustraotr CS6, Wade. Regadless of whether you think there should or should not be a reason for them.

     
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    Apr 29, 2012 4:12 AM   in reply to [scott w]

    I didn't say there was I wrote that here should be in CS 6.5 or 7. That does not mean that there will be a 6.5 update but that I am specualting that it is possible that Adobe will do such an update and it would be a ggood opportunity to bring al the programs to the same level.

     

    I think it is clear what I wrote and meant.

     
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